Auction Report: January 2020

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Old Italians and a modern bow proved popular at this autumn’s auctions, as Kevin MacDonald reports

There was a time not so long ago when a leisurely stroll down New Bond Street and its environs would allow you to view all of London’s seasonal violin auctions. No longer – to view the six October sales, from The Langham hotel (Amati) to the Royal Over-Seas League (Brompton’s) and all points in between comprises a circuit of a couple of miles. Of course, all of this allows the viewing of a grand total of 1,132 tempting lots, so it is well worth the hike.

Upper-range 18th-century Italian violins were available in profusion in the autumn sales, Guadagninis and Gaglianos in particular. However, the season’s top lot was a fine Giuseppe Guarneri ‘filius Andreae’ violin from c.1715, which sold at Ingles & Hayday for £504,000. Other important early Italian violins from I&H included a G.B. Guadagnini from his Turin period (1774) for £348,000 – fresh to market after more than a century with the same family; and a c.1770 Nicolò Gagliano at £192,000. Across at Brompton’s, a Guadagnini from his days in Parma (with a dendrochronology report and a replacement of its bass-side back) made £240,000; and a c.1725 Alessandro Gaglianò violin went for an undisclosed price. Finally at Tarisio, two Gagliano violins, by Gennaro (c.1760) and Giuseppe and Antonio (c.1780) made £29,500 and £78,000 respectively…

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